Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jim Cramer & Company: 10b* or Not 10b?

That is the question. Not that matters moral and metaphysical would seem to have great relevance in the lives of the Stone-Cold Evildoers of CNBC®.

Honestly (ha!), after the events, revelations, and embarrassing re-broadcasts of Staggering Wrongness that we've witnessed over the last week or so, I've come to think that we ought to view Jim Cramer's ridicule via the Daily Show as a mere warm-up, an amuse-bouche to whet our collective justice-seeking appetite.

Because look at this. Go on, watch it. And then tell me why these folks--Cramer, in this case--are different from any other mid-level criminal-for-hire. Exactly--they're not. They're just garden-variety perps with manicures and pinpoint Oxford shirts. They're Money Honeys and Street Sweeties who've finally caused enough bottomless cavities that their eroded metiér is now collapsing in on itself.

Via the HuffPo comes this footage of a Jim Cramer interview, aired on TV in 2006:

The money quotes (so to speak) (emphasis mine):

On manipulating the market: "A lot of times when I was short at my hedge fund, and I was positioned short, meaning I needed it down, I would create a level of activity before hand that could drive the futures."

On falsely creating the impression a stock is down (what he calls "fomenting"): "You can't foment. That's a violation... But you do it anyway because the SEC doesn't understand it." He adds, "When you have six days and your company may be in doubt because you are down, I think it is really important to foment."

On the truth: "What's important when you are in that hedge fund mode is to not be doing anything that is remotely truthful, because the truth is so against your view - it is important to create a new truth to develop a fiction," Cramer advises.

*It's been more than twenty years since I got my Series 7 License, but Rule 10B-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is not something you tend to forget, and Wiki is always there to remind you of the precise language:

Rule 10b-5: Employment of Manipulative and Deceptive Practices

It shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly, by the use of any means or instrumentality of interstate commerce, or of the mails or of any facility of any national securities exchange,

(a) To employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud,

(b) To make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading, or

(c) To engage in any act, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person,

in connection with the purchase or sale of any security.

So, what do you think--paper or plastic? I'm referring to the question of prison-issue coffee-cups. Plastic can leach chemicals into the java, and paper tends to burn the hand (unless the coffee is lukewarm). Metal is probably not a good idea--they'll be rattling them against the bars all night long, something I wouldn't wish on even the meanest privately-contracted warden.

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